THE CHRISTMAS PIANO
CAROLYN ELLIS visits
the ghosts of Christmas past
Everybody has childhood memories that stick with them forever, right? For me, the memory, the feel, the experience of playing Christmas carols back in my childhood home is just such a memory. Five decades removed from the family living room of my youth where I sat for many a Christmas playing the standard carols we all know and love, singing Christmas carols here in 2009 is still a tremendously moving experience for me.
Every Christmas when I sit down to play Silent Night or The First Noël or any of the traditional Christmas carols, within the blink of a Christmas eye, so to speak, I am ten years old again, surrounded by family and all the cozy comforts of home, singing the very same Christmas carols. The memory which overtakes me as I play is not a static postcard sort of memory at all, rather it is alive, full of the voices of my parents, now long deceased, as well as my brothers' and sister's happy banter. With an alarming clarity, which only seems to intensify with the years, I experience the familiar smell of Christmas dinner still cooking in the oven. I remember the thrill of getting my beautiful 26" blue and white Schwinn -- the bike I rode for the rest of my childhood days. I remember the awe of standing before our Christmas tree and thinking, 'Surely this is the most beautiful tree in the world'. All the while I play, my heart aches with memories, my eyes fill with tears.
Far from dreading Christmas carols because of having to deal with all the bitter-sweet emotions that flood my heart when I play, I actually look forward to visiting with the ghosts of Christmas past. In fact, in a way I still draw warmth and love from those long gone days which, in turn, I try to share today with my splendid husband, Fred, and our children. The circle of life goes on and on ...
Copyright © 25 December 2009 Carolyn Ellis,